No matter what your criminal case is about, it is likely that a plea bargain will be a part of the process. It may or may not be a good idea for you to accept a plea bargain: this depends on your case. However, plea bargains are very common since they can save time and effort on the part of both the defense and prosecution.
There are three general areas of negotiation concerning plea bargains. According to FindLaw, the areas of negotiation for a plea bargain include charge bargaining, sentence bargaining and fact bargaining.
What is a charge bargain?
Of all kinds of plea bargains, charge bargains are the most common. A charge bargain involves the defendant agreeing to plead guilty to a less severe charge in order to avoid going to court for a more severe one. A very common example of this is a defendant pleading guilty to a lesser manslaughter charge to avoid a jury trial over a murder charge.
What are sentence and fact bargaining?
Sentence bargaining in fact bargaining have a lot in common. The main difference between the two is that with sentence bargaining the actual sentence does not change. So in the above example, a defendant may plead guilty to a murder charge but receive a reduced sentence in return for doing so.
Fact bargaining is very uncommon and only appears in very specific situations. Fact bargaining is when the defendant agrees to admit certain facts pursuant to the case in return for the prosecution not mentioning other facts. Again, fact bargaining is rare and not all courts allow it.